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How to Really Design a Packer/Stacker South Coast Engineering teams up with Vaccon to develop a packer/stacker that packs and stacks almost 3,500 jars every 20 minutes. The Challenge

When a blow molding company in to flip the jar to be open side up prior Stacking that high with a ceiling of 24' Montreal specializing in food containto filling. left little room for the lifting mechanisms, ers needed a new packer / stacker for Typical of most blow molding platen thickness, over travel, and tolertheir latest jar hanproduction, containers ance stack up. dling application, they are placed in a In addition didn’t look any further random pattern to the height than their own shop into a 4' cube constraint, floor. For the past 12 corrugated the customer years, their South gaylord with a requested that Coast stacker has been plastic liner. To South Coast stacking and palletprotect the prodswitch from izing without mainteuct from damage the pneumatic nance or repairs. For when trucked to gantry design The P/S 400 uses an electrotheir new machine the filling locaof their existing mechanical design for higher The P/S 400 features a double they wanted the same tion, the gaylord South Coast speed, smoother operation, gantry system with just one robust design and low is not double machine to an and better control. drive system. maintenance. The solustacked, leaving electro-mechantion was the P/S 400 shown here which a lot of space wasted in the typical 110" ical design for higher speed, smoother will stack and palletize 3,456 containers (9') high tractor-trailer. The request from operation, and better control for a softer every 20 minutes for a daily output apthe molder was for a machine capable touch. With help from their local drive proaching 250,000 containers. of stacking 288 jars per level with 12 and control supplier, Action Automation, South Coast Control Engineering of levels for a total stack height of 110" to South Coast designed a double gantry New Bedford, MA specializes in contake advantage system using open loop drives with rack tainer handling, offering a full line of of the maximum and pinion construction in the X axis and packer / stackers in various sizes along space inside the chain drive in the Z axis. The two Z drives with custom designs. They are one of trailer. are tied together on the X axis so that the few companies designing equipThe drive for they move in unison, which minimizes ment that enables product to move maximizing stack components resulting in a simpler, more from the blow molder to pallet and height resulted in reliable machine. pallet to filler directly without requiring a design chal“To lower the drive motor horsepower intermediate equipment to reorient the lenge to fit the for each axis and for smaller gear reducbottle or any manual labor to remove machine within tions, special attention was paid to the them from a gaylord. Most packer the roof line design of each pick up head and the / stackers handle jars from the botof the client’s choice of materials to maximize strength tom, but South Coast chose to design factory which and minimize weight,” says Engineering their machine to pick up the open side has an overhead The P/S 400 also Manager, William Bristol. “In fact, the features the ability to of the jar to save handling time and height of just electrical demands of this entire machine stack to 110" high to reduce the number of operators and 24' between can be met with a standard 20 amp serequipment downstream by not having the ceiling joists. maximize trailer space. vice typical of a residential wall outlet.” Vaccon Company, Inc. 9 Industrial Park Road Medway, MA 02053

Phone 508.359.7200 E-mail engineering@vaccon.com Web site www.vaccon.com


The Process

to pick up the jars and yet not crush The process begins with an operator them. These vacuum pumps have explacing a pallet on the pallet conveyor tremely high vacuum flow and exceeded which brings the pallet into position our expectations by gripping all 288 jars between the two pick and place heads. in just one second, half the The left gantry fitted with time we allowed for. In fact, a multifunction EOAT prior to leveling the platen (end-of-arm-vacuumto the collection table, tool) extends down to there was a slight gap pick up a slip sheet. The on one side between the Z axis retracts and the platen and the jars and the X axis moves the slip pumps lifted them off the sheet over the empty table. These pumps have pallet. The Z axis extends a unique straight-through to place the tear sheet design that makes them onto the pallet. The Z extremely dirt tolerant axis retracts while the so there are no ‘Vacuum jars gather into 16 rows Pump Disease’ problems on the collection table in with whatever debris they an offset pattern. Once might ingest getting stuck the collection table is full Innovative offset pattern inside the pump. This kind the right gantry lowers allows for dense packing of robust design matches to pick up the jars using for maximizing space. our design style for long vacuum. The right gantry life with no maintenance.” then retracts and both gantries move left until the containers are above the Tear Sheet and Frame Handling pallet. The containers are lowered onto Prior to the first level of jars being set the pallet and released. in place, a wooden frame and tear While the right gantry is over the sheet are set on the pallet conveyor. pallet, the left gantry is picking up a tear sheet and the process repeats un- This is accomplished using a multifunction end-of-arm tool designed to pick til the stack is 12 layers tall with a tear up a tear sheet sheet between each and a wooden layer and a strapping strapping frame frame on the top. together. For subsequent Product Handling layers only the Once the product is tear sheets are gathered into its offpicked and set matrix pattern on placed between the collection table, a each layer of lightweight aluminum jars. vacuum platen with 1" 4 Vaccon VDF Venturi Vacuum Pumps lift “Utilizing thick soft closed cell 288 jars in under 1 second. Vaccon’s line of foam makes contact pre-engineered with the top of the jars. The platen is made up of four zones end of arm tooling components including suction cups, spring levelers and with each zone having its own venturi venturi vacuum pumps we built the tool vacuum pump. with all the supplied parts in about an “The venturi pumps we chose are hour,” says John Hubright, Assembly the VDF Series manufactured by Vaccon Supervisor. Company of Medway, MA,” says South “Plumbing was a breeze because Coast owner, Scott Gomes. “They have the Vaccon pump we chose was the a unique adjustable design that allowed us to dial in the vacuum level we needed multi-port version (see photo below),

Vaccon Company, Inc. 9 Industrial Park Road Medway, MA 02053

Phone 508.359.7200 E-mail engineering@vaccon.com Web site www.vaccon.com

The VDF Vacuum Pump features a unique “dirt tolerant” design.

which has its own integral vacuum manifold to make pump-to-cup connections fast and maximizes vacuum flow to each cup to handle the porous tear sheets. A vacuum switch on the manifold monitors all of the suction cups and signals that the cups have a firm grip on the tear sheet,” says Chad Biron, Design Engineer. “The choice for the Vaccon pumps was based on their dirt tolerance and the incredible ease of tool design. All of the components fit together in erector-set fashion on a standard 1.5" x 1.5" aluminum profile. We were under the gun to get this machine shipped early, and within 2 days the design was complete and the components were on our dock.”

The multi-function EOAT handles both slip sheets and wooden frames separately and combined.

The Vaccon Multi-port Vacuum Manifold distributes vacuum to suction cups and maximizes flow to overcome leakage.


About South Coast Control Engineering South Coast Control Engineering (SCCE) of New Bedford, MA specializes in automated machine design with special emphasis on container handling. A full service machine supplier providing design, engineering, fabrication, and installation services, SCCE offers a full line of packer / stackers along with custom machinery for any industry.

Also unique to SCCE: The engineers who design and assist with fabrication are also the people that install and teach the customers’ operators. Their intimate knowledge of each system on the machine improves communication and understanding with customers—both on-site during installation and as factory support. South Coast operates out of a

new, 20,000 sq. ft. facility which houses CNC machining, welding, fabrication and painting equipment. Says owner Scott Gomes, “We control the majority of the main processes needed to make our equipment to ensure that we meet or exceed our delivery promises and quality.”

South Coast Control Engineering, Inc. 404 Nash Road, Building C, New Bedford, MA 02746 Phone 774.206.5649 E-mail sales@scceinc.com Web site www.scceinc.com

About Vaccon Company, Inc. Vaccon Company Inc. is the leading U.S. manufacturer of air powered venturi vacuum pumps, supplying the manufacturing, food, and process industries with reliable vacuum products characterized by efficient operation, rugged construction, and low cost. Vaccon innovations include pump

designs that place the vacuum port and exhaust path inline, making a straightthrough venturi vacuum pump. These compact pumps are excellent for extremely “dirty” and dusty environments such as food processing, packaging, foundries, and bagging operations, because they do not clog, lose suction, or Vaccon Company, Inc. 9 Industrial Park Road, Medway, MA 02053 Phone 508.359.7200 E-mail engineering@vaccon.com Web site www.vaccon.com

Vaccon Company, Inc. 9 Industrial Park Road Medway, MA 02053

Phone 508.359.7200 E-mail engineering@vaccon.com Web site www.vaccon.com

require a vacuum filter. Vaccon’s expanded vacuum pump product line also includes other unique devices such as Material Conveying Vacuum Pumps, Variable Vacuum Pumps, Air Amplifiers and Manifolds.


Vaccon Packer-Stacker